Inside the Cal Baptist University Events Center, the CIF Southern Section Open Division Semifinals featured four teams sealing trips to next week’s finals. Here, the Times High School Insider recaps top action from the semifinals, including the end of Bishop Montgomery’s 41-game winning streak, a thriller decided in the last seconds of double overtime.
Girls’ Semifinal: Mater Dei vs. Windward
Trailing by seven in the third quarter, Mater Dei freshman guard Khylee Pepe drove to the rim and scored, but remained on the floor and was helped to the locker room. That devastating injury cemented Mater Dei’s fate, as Charisma Osborne-led Windward out-scored the Monarchs 24-6 in the third quarter to secure a 76-64 victory.
Osborne, only a junior, shot 11/12 from the free-throw line and snatched six rebounds to go along with her 25 points. Three-point specialist Sela Kay scored 14 points, while Kaiyah Corona added 12 and McKayla Williams posted 11. “We did a better job of executing in the second half,” head coach Vanessa Nygaard said. “They killed us on the boards in the first half, so we focused on trying to keep them to one shot.”
Brooke Demetre guided Mater Dei with 14 points and Nevada-comitt Emma Torbert scored 13 with five rebounds. In just over 16 minutes, Pepe put up eight points and seven rebounds. The Monarchs will play Etiwanda for third place, while Windward advances to a showdown with Harvard-Westlake next week in the finals.
Girls’ Semifinal: Etiwanda vs. Harvard-Westlake
A defensive oriented slugfest saw Etiwanda finish with back-to-back two-point scoring quarters, during the second and third, as well as a dominating 16-rebound performance from Harvard-Westlake six-foot-one Freshman Kiki Iriafen. Harvard-Westlake held Etiwanda to just 15 points through three quarters, and won by a final score of 42-28. Despite a torn labrum and dislocated shoulder, Jayda Ruffus-Milner scored 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for Harvard-Westlake.
Etiwanda shot 17 percent from the field, but played without star sophomore Kimora Sykes, who was sidelined after facial surgery. The eagles scored all of their three points in the second quarter on free throws, but only trailed by four at the half. A matchup with Mater Dei awaits Etiwanda, and Harvard-Westlake moves on to face Windward.
Boys’ Semifinal: Sierra Canyon vs. Bishop Montgomery
Bishop Montgomery hadn’t lost since January 2017, and led by three with 4.2 seconds left in regulation. Coming out of a timeout, Sierra Canyon’s Cassius Stanley held the ball out of bounds on the far side and threw a full court rocket to Duane Washington Jr., who faced up and nailed a three as time expired to send the game into overtime.
Trailing 71-69 with 14.3 seconds remaining in overtime, Sierra Canyon brought the ball into the front court. As time expired, Scotty Pippen Jr. drove and dished to K.J. Martin, who scored to send the game into double overtime.
In double overtime, Martin tipped in a Pippen Jr. miss to put Sierra Canyon ahead 75-74. David Singleton missed a three for Bishop Montgomery, and Sierra Canyon held the ball as time winded down with nearly a three second difference between game and shot clock. Washington Jr. drove to the basket and scored in the final seconds, completing Sierra Canyon’s upset over number one-seeded Montgomery.
“This was one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of, in my entire life,” Sierra Canyon head coach Andre Chevalier said. Washington Jr. led Sierra Canyon with 20 points and Martin dropped 18 with 21 rebounds. Stanley added 18 points and Pippen Jr. scored nine. Sierra Canyon out-rebounded Montgomery by four, but committed 17 turnovers to Montgomery’s 16.
Gianni Hunt poured in 26 points for Montgomery, who will play Etiwanda for third place. David Singleton scored 14 points but shot just one-of-eight from behind the three-point line, an unusual stat for the UCLA commit. Nick Schrader added 13 points. “I thought our performance in the first half put us into a big hole,” head coach Doug Mitchell said. “The things we tried to address, like playing transition defense, didn’t happen.”
Boys’ Semifinal: Mater Dei vs. Etiwanda
The last semifinal featured third-seeded Mater Dei outlasting second-seeded Etiwanda by a final of 76 to 66, snapping the Eagles 24-game win streak. Pennsylvania-comitt Michael Wang led the scoring charge for Mater Dei with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Harvard-bound guard Spencer Freedman supplied 22 points and missed just three free throws.
Etiwanda guard Elijah Harkless hit a jumper as time expired in the second quarter to bring the Eagles within three, and continued to score down the stretch. He finished with 23 points as Etiwanda lost just their second game of the season, the other back in December to Rancho Christian.
With a victory for Mater Dei, the stage is set for an Open Division finals showdown between the Monarchs and Sierra Canyon at Long Beach State. Mater Dei is looking to capture their 23rd Southern Section championship, and first since 2012.